A devastating first-half performance made sure a laborious England side were able to come away with a hard-fought victory against Women’s World Cup newcomers Scotland. 

The Lionesses were in cruise control in the first half, enjoying nearly 70% possession, and they made the breakthrough after just 14 minutes from the penalty spot after a lengthy VAR check.

Nikita Parris was on hand to confidently dispatch the penalty and give England a well-deserved lead. She continued to cause Scotland’s back-line issues, driving inside to create space and linking up well with Lucy Bronze and Ellen White, who sumptuously curled in England’s second. White capitalised upon England’s high press to pounce on a loose ball and double her side’s lead. 

White had already seen an earlier strike ruled out for offside, before scoring England’s second, and she was denied by the linesman’s flag again less than a minute into the second half.

White made a run in behind before squaring for Beth Mead to tap home, but the referee just as quickly ruled it out. Following a bright start, England began to drop deeper into a complacent malaise from which they couldn’t arrest themselves, and Claire Emslie soon took advantage. Her deflected strike from inside the area was Scotland’s first ever in the Women’s World Cup and spurred them on to look for an equaliser.

A combination of poor decision making from Scotland’s midfielders and stoic defensive efforts ensured England held on and kickstarted their World Cup campaign with a victory.

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